BBC journalists ‘liked’ anti-Semitic tweets despite promise to crack down on bias

Rami Ruhayem
BBC correspondent Rami Ruhayem accused the organisation of complicity in 'genocide, ethnic cleansing, apartheid'

BBC journalists have appeared to support anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and statements that Israel is “pure evil”, despite the corporation promising to crack down on bias.

One reporter based in Egypt liked a tweet in December making unsubstantiated allegations that large numbers of Jews from around the world are buying up land in Northern Cyprus, with the aim being “to seize” the territory for Israel.

The story, propagated in part by some Turkish newspapers, has prompted alarm on the island in recent months, despite officials disputing the numbers.

The same BBC Arabic service journalist, Sally Nabil, liked a tweet endorsing the words of a released Israeli hostage who expressed her “deepest gratitude” to Hamas for her treatment.

Along with several colleagues, Ms Nabil was exposed by The Telegraph in October for liking a comment to a video showing trucks loaded with dead Israelis and kidnapped civilians on October 7.

BBC bosses subsequently said they were “urgently investigating”, but they have not said what disciplinary action was taken.

Corporation insiders said that despite frequent official reminders to maintain due impartiality on social media, in reality senior executives have taken no action when it comes to bias in the context of Israel.

“Senior executives know about these tweets and are simply letting them sit there,” one said.

BBC Arabic service journalist Sally Nabil
BBC Arabic service journalist Sally Nabil

It comes amid heightened scrutiny of the broadcaster since the October massacre, with the BBC refusing to refer to Hamas as terrorists.

Last week Lucy Frazer, the Culture Secretary, said audiences believe the corporation is “not sufficiently” impartial.

The Telegraph can also reveal that a trainer at the BBC Academy is also facing allegations of bias.

Martin Asser liked a tweet quoting a former Israeli soldier saying the Israel Defense Forces “should not exist”.

He also liked a tweet suggesting that Israel had “trained” Western opinion to view them as “just a bunch of little angels”.

Mr Asser was commissioned in December to write an analysis on the BBC Arabic website about the possibilities of a two-state solution to the conflict.

The BBC said he was no longer working for the academy and that his involvement had been in technical training.

Meanwhile, Ahmed Rouaba, another BBC Arabic journalist, reposted a tweet which suggested that Israel had lied to the International Court of Justice in the recent genocide case brought against it by South Africa.

Ahmed Rouaba
Ahmed Rouaba

He also reposted a tweet describing elements of Israel’s Gaza blockade as “pure evil”, as well as one suggesting that Israel was “starving” Palestinians “to save money bombing them”.

The BBC is obliged to achieve “due impartiality” in all its output, according to its guidelines, while its news journalists also have a “particular responsibility” to uphold the principle in their actions on social media.

A BBC insider who spoke to The Telegraph on condition of anonymity said: “Staff keep getting reminded about social media use but it’s simply being ignored by some when it comes to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

“Despite what it claims, it is clear the BBC is still not taking robust action.

“Senior executives know about these tweets and are simply letting them sit there.

“These accounts are not exactly hidden and everyone knows it is going on.”

Another said: “There’s a clear lack of oversight when it comes to the behaviour of some BBC staff on social media.

“Journalists and correspondents with a clear agenda continue to promote their views in breach of editorial guidelines, causing anguish to their colleagues, and nothing seems to ever be done to stop them.

Former BBC Academy trainer Martin Asser
Former BBC Academy trainer Martin Asser

“It undermines the name of the BBC and the impartiality and balance that so many others work to achieve.”

The staff also raised concern that BBC correspondent Rami Ruhayem appears to still be on air despite having sent a letter to director-general Tim Davie, circulated to hundreds of other staff, accusing the organisation of complicity in “genocide, ethnic cleansing, apartheid”.

At the top of his feed on X, Mr Ruhayem also asks: “Are Western media complicit in Israel’s attack on Palestinians in Gaza?”

Danny Cohen, formerly director of BBC Television, said: “BBC’s senior management is unable or unwilling to control the social media output of its journalists and presenters.

“Anti-Israel bias and anti-Semitism within the BBC continues to be ignored.

“This continues to have serious implications for Britain’s Jewish community.”

A spokesman for the BBC said: “We do not comment on individual staff matters or individual social media posts and will not be commenting on these cases. However, we take any breaches of our social media guidance very seriously and always take appropriate disciplinary action wherever necessary.”

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